Allegedly, the Orioles and Twins played a spring training game in Fort Myers on Wednesday afternoon. The game was neither on radio nor TV anywhere, but it still counts. The Orioles were the winners, 3-2, thanks in part to Ubaldo Jimenez not having a total meltdown and a trio of other pitchers keeping the Twins hitters off of the board.
For Jimenez, though he allowed five hits and a walk in four-plus innings, that is still something of a victory. He came out to start the fifth inning, the first O's pitcher to do so this spring. That's not surprising since he was also the first pitcher to start this spring, meaning he'll be ahead of the others. Although Jimenez didn't record any outs, he was only chased because of three cheap hits that ended up scoring the a run. And compared to how he's done before, only one walk and no wild pitches is a positive.
Logan Verrett came on with runners on the corners and nobody down in the fifth and stopped the Twins from inflicting any further damage. That's a nice effort. He was helped out a little by his friends, as catcher Caleb Joseph threw out Eduardo Nunez on a steal attempt for one of the outs of the inning.
On the same day that Matt Wieters was shut down for at least a week, that was the first of two runners thrown out by Joseph. He got another runner the next inning, smothering a would-be wild pitch as that runner, Brian Dozier, tried to advance from second to third on the play. Dozier was thrown out at third for his impudence. Don't run on Caleb Joseph.
The Orioles got their runs early on. Their half of the second inning began with a TOOTBLAN, as Delmon Young was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. However, Steve Clevenger followed with another single, meaning that there was a man on base when Jonathan Schoop hit a ball over the fence in left field. If there was any video whatsoever I'd be happy to tell you if it was impressive. Let's pretend it went 450 feet.
The home run came off of Twins starter Ervin Santana, so at least it's not like homering off some sacrificial lamb from Double-A in the late innings.
A third Orioles run crossed the plate in the third inning. Starting center fielder Dariel Alvarez led off the inning with a triple. A good way to set up to score a run, though of course the Orioles are plenty capable of failing to capitalize on that opportunity, as we well know. Alvarez scored on a sacrifice fly by the very next batter, though. Productive outs are preferable to the alternative.
By the time Jimenez left the game, the score was 3-2 in favor of the Orioles. That remained the case for the rest of the game. Zach Britton breezed through the seventh with three consecutive ground ball outs, while Tyler Wilson added a scoreless eighth and ninth to preserve the victory. Wilson gave up a couple of hits in the eighth but kept the Twins off the scoreboard.
Each team scattered eight hits through the game. The Orioles made the most of extra-base hits. The Twins did not. That was the difference in the game. Does it mean anything? Well, no, it's still just spring training. Better to win the meaningless ones than lose, though.
Next up for the Orioles is a Thursday afternoon contest at home against the Pirates at the standard 1:05 spring start time. This game will only be available in audio, and then only if you are a subscriber to MLB's GameDay audio.